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Bobcat girls win second consecutive county title

The Phil Campbell Bobcats (17-3) won their second-straight Franklin County Tournament championship Saturday night, defeating the Belgreen Bulldogs 48-35. It was a first for the Bobcats: the first time the Phil Campbell girls have won back-to-back championships.

The matchup featured two ranked teams: Phil Campbell is ranked fifth in Class 3A, and Belgreen (16-5) is ranked ninth in Class 2A.

As usual, the Bobcats used a relentless full-court pressure defense to subdue their opponent. Phil Campbell forced eight Belgreen turnovers in the first half and outrebounded the Bulldogs.

“I was proud of the way our girls got after it tonight,” said Phil Campbell coach Craig Thomas. “This is always one of those goals we have as a team at the beginning of the year – to win the county championship.”

Phil Campbell led Belgreen 12-3 at the end of the first quarter. Senior Abby Davis hit a half-court three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Bobcats a 27-14 lead heading into the locker room. Except for that last-second shot at the buzzer, Belgreen played Phil Campbell even for the rest of the game.

“I thought that was a little bit of my fault,” said Thomas. “We took the foot off the pedal with the pressure and allowed them to get back in the game.”

Phil Campbell still led Belgreen 39-24 at the end of the third quarter, but the momentum had definitely shifted in the Bulldogs’ favor. In fact, Belgreen’s Gabbie Moore hit a mid-range jumper with 4:11 to go in the game to pull the Bulldogs to within seven points of the Bobcats, 40-33.

Thomas recognized the momentum shift and called a timeout to get his girls back in the game plan.

“We had to get back to our pressure defense that worked so well for us early on,” said Thomas. “We got a couple of quick steals and points, and I think that finally sealed the deal for us.”

Four Bobcats scored in the championship game, with Davis leading the way with 19 points. Kallie Allen followed with 13 points. Caitlynn Mills added nine points, and Katie Thomas had seven points.

Gracie Dempsey led Belgreen with 11 points. She was followed by Katie Dempsey with eight points and Ansley Tate with seven points. Autumn Bragwell, Moore and Emma Willingham scored three points each.

Semifinals: Belgreen 70, Vina 43

Moore scored 16 of her 19 points in the first half to help lead the ninth-ranked Belgreen Bulldogs to an easy 70-43 win over the Vina Red Devils Friday and advance to the finals against Phil Campbell.

Vina led Belgreen 19-16 at the end of the first quarter thanks to some good shooting by Kaitlyn King, who scored 10 of her game-high 15 points in the first half. Belgreen took over the game in the second and third quarters to put it away, outscoring Vina 46-16 over the next two quarter to cruise to the semifinal win.

Katie Dempsey and Emma Dempsey followed Moore with 14 points each. Bragwell, Tate and Gracie Dempsey added six points each. Willingham rounded out the Bulldogs’ scoring with five points.

Along with King, Rayleigh Guin led Vina with 15 points. Sarah Johnson added seven points, Sara Scott four points and Emma Humphres two points.

Semifinals: Phil Campbell 57, Red Bay 48

The fifth-ranked Phil Campbell Bobcats allowed a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Red Bay Tigers to make things perhaps a little too interesting for the top-seeded home team in the Franklin County Tournament Thursday.

Phil Campbell led Red Bay by 20 points going into the fourth quarter – with the game seemingly in hand – before Red Bay went on a 19-point scoring burst to close out the game. The Bobcats, however, held on to win 57-48.

Allen led Phil Campbell with 15 points and nine rebounds. Caitlynn Mills followed with 14 points; Davis got 13 points and six assists. Katie Thomas added nine points and Olivia Taylor six points.

Macy Faulkner and Mallori Miller led Red Bay with 17 points and 16 points respectively. Regan Kuykendall added nine points, Destiny McCollister four points and Sarah Williams two points.

Quarterfinals: Red Bay 45, Tharptown 34

The Red Bay Tigers used a strong third quarter to pull away from the Tharptown Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the Franklin County Tournament Jan. 15 to win 45-34.

Red Bay led Tharptown 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats outscored the Tigers 10-9 in the second quarter to cut Red Bay’s lead to two points, 19-17, at halftime. The Tigers outscored Tharptown 16-6 in the third quarter to increase their led to 35-23, and it was all they would need to come away with the win.

Kuykendall led Red Bay with 15 points, including eight points in the third quarter. She went nine for 12 from the free-throw line.

Macy Faulkner followed Kuykendall with 11 points. Miller and Cassidy Kuykendall added eight points each. Destiny McCollister scored two points, and Kaylee Markham added one point.

Brooke Daily led Tharptown with 10 points. Catie Dawson, Shaylee Wieting, Gracie Montgomery and Adrianna Borden all scored five points each. Aly Vandiver added four points.

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